I’m proud of my heritage. I’m proud to be from Labrador. I look nothing like my Native heritage suggests I should look, but I have Native blood.

I’m going on my third year living in St. John’s, and I’ve never been so hesitant to let people I meet know where and who I come from.

There’s a legitimate problem in N.L. in regards to how people view Natives, specifically Labradorians.

I’m proud of where I’m from. In my room I have a sealskin cutout of Labrador. I have little canvas bags with the Labrador flag, drum dancers, and Labrador on them. But I’m afraid to bring them around St. John’s, a place I’ve been living in for over two years now.

I’m proud of my heritage. I love that there are centres and groups within town that I can connect with to meet other people who are Native, or are descendants of Native people. But I don’t like to go to these places.

I’m proud of who I am, where I come from, but I can’t outright say these things.

I’ve been asked if I sniffed gas, and people laughed at the upset look on my face. I’ve been asked umpteen times about how much money I receive from the government, or from “their taxes”. I’ve been asked if there are roads, igloos for houses, and if the diet is anything but caribou and fish.
I’ve been brought to tears on multiple occasions from “jokes” from multiple people, or I’ve had to stand by when somebody outright says they’re racist and hate how people get money from the government while Labradorians get to sit on their asses.

How can this be allowed? I thought we were in the 21st century — but obviously not, otherwise this bullshit bigotry wouldn’t still be around.

I don’t know, maybe I’ll just start punching people in the face when these things happen, seeing as I’m probably a drunk, gas-sniffing, lazy ass who is obviously crazy simply because I’m from Labrador.

Or maybe we can change how Natives are viewed.

Megan Dyson (Cartwright, Labrador)